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Sioux Falls School Board Discussion Of Pledge Of Allegiance Issue

November 15, 2013, 4:54 PM by Jaine Andrews

Sioux Falls School Board Discussion Of Pledge Of Allegiance Issue
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Here is the complete November 12, 2013, discussion during the Sioux Falls School Board meeting, regarding a proposal to amend the district's IMDB policy regarding flag displays and patriotic assemblies. You may notice stops and starts, as well as camera adjustments during this video as the photographer changes shots. 

TRANSCRIPT:

DEACON JIM BOERMAN: Greetings to the board tonight. I am Deacon Jim Boerman. My address is 4304 East 26th Street, Sioux Falls, SD. Tonight, I represent the veterans of military, specifically the Sioux Falls area and in general the veterans of military across this country, and the military all around the world which have put themselves in harm's way for you and for all of us. We do this to encourage you for a further modification of your policy on IMDB to include high school as well as middle school. We feel that that's very important for patriotic duties. To do this, I would like to make some quotes from an article by Military Chaplain, Eric Albertson, who recently returned from another tour of duty in Afghanistan.  He states our purpose more eloquently than I can:  "As we celebrate Veterans Day, many Americans will take time to reflect on the generous service and sacrifice made by those who wear the uniform. Army. Navy. Air Force. Marine. And Coast Guard. Whereas on Memorial Day we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country, on Veterans Day the emphasis is on the living. Those who have served and continue to serve our nation. Both of these days are stark reminders that freedom is not free. That it comes at a price and those who volunteer to serve, and are willing to pay that price are worthy of our honor, respect, and appreciation. Additonally, the extraordinary volume of care packages from multiple source, we received during deployments was overwhelming.  Many included notes from students, church members, businesses and civic organizations. All very personal. And thoughtful letters of appreciation. We often posted those letters throughout our work space. Still, the importance of expressions, our appreciation, must continue or we risk becoming complacent and taking our freedom for granted (efforts) to defend and sustain us."

And this is what we are asking. Ten seconds a day. From standup until sit down. Ten seconds to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day throughout all of your grade levels. This is not too much to pay, considering the sacrifice that others are standing in harm's way for you.  So please consider modifying the IMDB to include high school as well as middle school. Your actions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

BOARD MEMBER, KATE PARKER:  510 During our usual review of policies, we did look at IMDB: Flag displays...we submitted to re-title the policy and update language to clarify how it currently is practiced. The policy was posted for public review on the district's website and as President Morrison mentioned, we received a letter and took that back to policies. We had discussion ... We did change the title of the policy, Flag Displays and Patriotic Activities. We felt that we wanted to make it clear that at the high school level, we do not ... There's not always an opportunity to have the Pledge of Allegiance spoken every day. We don't have homerooms, but we do have assemblies and the principals that were in the discussion with us really said that, or they talked about the assemblies and how it's a much somber... much more somber moment during their assemblies when everyone is in the room, all the students are in the assembly hall and that the junior ROTC programs do a presentation of colors and they do other patriotic activities during that time and it's a much easier time at the high school level because, again like I said , that's when all the students are assembled in one place. We did clarify in the policy that the Pledge of Allegiance is performed each day at the middle school and at the elementary level. So I just wanted to give you sort of a background on our conversation that we had and the policy. So I support the changes that we have made here and I move for approval of the second reading of Flag Displays and Patriotic Activities.

BOARD PRESIDENT, DOUG MORRISON: Is there a second?

BOARD MEMBER: Second.

MORRISON: Discussion?

MORRISON: I'm echoing what I think Kate said. We took this to a broad range of the group that sets a policy, clarified, you know, that we are saying the pledge through middle school. Had a long discussion about it at the high school level and as Kate said it was deemed, we thought more impactful if in assemblies and things like that where we had the ROTC presenting the colors or other events like that and we' ll hold the administration accountable, that at those assemblies there is a patriotic, uplifting event and so based on that feedback and just the challenge of being able to find a period within the high school day to be able to say it consistently appeared to be a challenge to do. So I don't think it means that we're any less patriotic; it just means that we're trying to deal with the reality of the situation that our kids are in. Day in and day out. And so I'm supporting this going into second readings well. Kate and I think you said it, it doesn't show... it doesn't reflect a lack of our appreciation or respect for all that our veterans do to protect our country. It's just the logistics of the high school day.

BOARD MEMBER, TODD THOELKE: In going to high school events, including the sporting events, it's a pretty impressive and respectful moment to reflect when the color guard comes out and displays the flag.  And every game I have been to, the announcer asks you to remain standing when they enter, you know, and when they leave and I think that gives everyone time to reflect and show the grate fullness for the veterans that have given so much for our freedom. So hopefully they understand that this is a sign of respect and logistically the way we have to do it.

MORRISON: And again, we appreciate the latter in bringing this forward so we could have the dialogue and bring the policy forward for discussion again.  So I have a motion and a second, all those in favor signify by saying, "Aye." 

ENTIRE BOARD: "Aye"

MORRISON: Opposed, same sign.

(Silence)

MORRISON: Motion is carried on IMDB and IMDB-R as was posted as approved.

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